The Cohousing Crunch
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Thu, 20 Jul 2000 16:25:08 -0600 (MDT)
Takoma Park Cohousing is a 43 unit condo building in DC that includes the
commonhouse. Our completion date has been creeping month by month and week
by week from April to mid-October.

Some people have been finding jobs, selling houses, and moving to temporary
housing in the area for two years. Others have been hanging on month to
month assuring landlords that they will be out in just ----. Some have
already been flung out and are bunking with friends.

One of our members who is being flung out, along with her roommates posted
this (edited message) to our list serve today:

My housemate just called.  She's on her way to the hospital having
suffered a very, very, very, very mild stroke and will remain 1-2 days for
tests.  A co-worker is driving her to the hospital.

The movers are coming on Sat. to move her to ----.  She hasn't finished
packing her office or taking down the pictures in the house.  The handyman
is coming tomorrow at 8:00 a.m. to spackle and repair stuff in the house.

[The dog] is at the vet having a tumor surgically removed and has to be
picked up at 6:00 p.m.

I just got back from Home Depot w/ a glass sliding door on the roof of my
car that the handyman will install in the tub tomorrow.  I can't get it
inside the house by myself.  For all my socializing w/ folks in the
neighborhood I don't know a soul able bodied enough to help get a glass door
off a car roof.

And I think "Living in cohousing has got to be different than this."  But
maybe this is just MY expectation.

Where did we screw up?

I share my response, not because I expect anyone to have answers to our
multiple dilemmas--I expect a post like this every week for the next 6
months-- but to let everyone know our Cohousing Crunch has started.

> Where did we screw up?
> When we forgot the importance of extended families -- we threw out the baby
> with the bathwater.
> I see the need for a new class of cohousing professional. We know we need more
> cohousing developers and more cohousing organizers (like Ann), but now I see
> we need cohousing transition people to help with the process of getting a
> whole group of people from here to here, physically as well as mentally.
> Our situation combines all the worst aspects of moving, moving into new
> construction, and moving with high expectations to all those of moving into a
> new cohousing development -- you and 50+ people you know are moving, you are
> responsible in some little way (and some in big ways) for those people being
> happy about their move, and then you are all going to figure out how to live
> together!

Sharon Villines, Editor
The MacGuffin Guide to Detective Fiction
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington, DC

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